Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
Old wells, new problems: Once upon a time, Summerland, California, was the offshore oil drilling capital of the county. And while the wells were abandoned nearly a century ago, many Summerland residents feel that the unprecedented amounts of oil washing up on their beaches in recent months may be the result of these old petroleum-harvesting spots. Santa Barbara historical museum.
Long since abandoned, century-old oil wells off the coast of Summerland, California, were vilified early this month, at the County Board of Supervisors.
Responding directly to public cries of concern about a relatively recent increase in the amount of oil washing up along the beaches of Summerland and floating just offshore, the supervisors voted unanimously to send a letter to the state regulatory agencies in charge of the old wells, demanding an investigation into the alleged leaks.
Before it became the quaint coastal antiquing capital of the South Coast that it is today, with a reputation for stunningly scenic and often empty beaches, Summerland was the hub of Santa Barbara’s oceanic oil rush at the start of the 20th century, the beach providing ground zero for a series of piers and primitive oil rigs harvesting crude from hundreds of offshore wells…